Almost two years to the day after the violent death of Naayitch Friday, a YouthWorks employee and part-time Santa Fean, a federal jury has convicted his killer of second-degree murder and four other felonies.
Carl Romero, a 20-year-old member of Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, was originally charged with first-degree murder for shooting Friday, 26, in the face as Friday begged for his life in an arroyo in San Ildefonso Pueblo. According to jury instructions, a first-degree conviction would have hinged on proof the act was premeditated and didn’t happen in the heat of passion. Romero also was convicted of two counts of assault and two weapons charges, and faces up to life in prison for the murder conviction, plus up to 65 years on the other charges.
Friday was a member of the Arapaho Indian tribe of Wyoming, who stayed in Santa Fe with his fiancé part time, and also spent time in Dulce with his mom.
“Naayitch was deeply loved by everyone at YouthWorks,” YouthWorks Executive Director Melynn Schuyler says. “He had a huge heart for his work, for the outdoors and for New Mexico. He had a huge impact on all of us and will never be forgotten.”